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Trump dares Biden to announce potential Supreme Court picks

One reason Donald Trump is president today is that he took a big risk on the courts, and bet big that right-leaning voters would trust him.

Trump uniquely publicized a list of potential Supreme Court appointees, pledging to find replicas of the revered Justice Antonin Scalia. The first list appeared in May 2016 and featured 11 names. The campaign said this judicial draft was “first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.”

The roster eventually grew to two dozen, and the judiciary has been one area where the president has been able to maintain a keen focus.

With the aid of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump is on track to appoint 300 judges in his first term — 51 of them to federal appellate courts, where Trump has named more than a quarter of the whole batch.

Proving you can tell as much from your enemies as your friends, The New York Times earlier this year lamented that the Trump-McConnell machine was responsible for “a conservative agenda unleashed on the federal courts.”

“When ruling on cases, they (Trump’s appointees) have been notably more likely than other Republican appointees to disagree with peers selected by Democratic presidents, and more likely to agree with those Republican appointees, suggesting they are more consistently conservative,” the Times noted.

That’s what conservative voters wanted. 

Now, the president has challenged his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, to provide his own list.

Left-wing activist groups have likewise urged the former vice president to float his picks since at least April. Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has resisted so far.

And probably for good reason. 

For one thing, he likely understands that liberals have less to fear from the courts than conservatives do since many conservative judges — like Chief Justice John Roberts — are willing to uphold progressive precedents. 

For another, the Trump campaign would seize Biden’s list as a campaign banner and use it as a line of attack along with Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as VP, his adopting of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s lefty policies and his lukewarm criticism of thugs rioting in the streets.

Trump even seemed to relish this.

At the Republican National Convention on Monday, Trump dared Biden “to put up a list of the judges he’s going to appoint.” Then, the president indicated why Biden wouldn’t.

“He can’t do it because he’s — he would appoint — it’s not him. He has no choice. The radical left will demand that he appoints super-radical, left, wild, crazy justices going into the Supreme Court. Your American dream will be dead if that happens. It’ll be dead,” Trump said.

“I will tell you,” the president added, “that the next one (president) could have two, three, four, and even five, the next president. This is so important. This is so — whether you’re talking about life, whether you’re talking about Second Amendment, whether you’re talking about military. This is so important. We have to do this. We have to win this election.”

The 2016 election showed that GOP voters can be galvanized by the courts. Trump, perhaps sensing that, is preparing his Supreme Court 2.0 list.

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